Author Topic: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?  (Read 3977 times)

Offline Calista

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Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« on: February 23, 2011, 05:24:33 PM »
In my usual spirit of simplicity, I'd like to know if anyone has constructed an outdoor passive solar shower that's simple to build on a south-facing wall as an emergency solution for interruptions in the water supply. I wouldn't be using it on a daily basis (unless it's just so irresistible because it works so well!) and I'd like to stay away from any welding or soldering.

When I was growing up on the farm, Dad jury-rigged an outdoor shower with a black pail off the raised porch and a wood pallet to stand on. :) It worked for when the well went dry at the end of every summer, but I was hoping for something a little more sturdy, private, and reliable. Oh, and something a step or two up from hanging one of those solar shower bags from Wally World on a hook overhead.

So I found this so far in my surfing the Net:

http://www.savehouseholdenergy.com/solarshower.html

http://www.savehouseholdenergy.com/solarshower-new.html (improved from the first design)

What do you think? Good idea for what I'm looking for?  ??? Thanks for any input.

OldManSchmidt

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 09:32:12 PM »
Not a bad idea so long as the city code enforcement isn't a concern.  Also, if you need more hot water than this design can supply, you can replace the "bag in top" heater assembly with a tank from an old water heater.  Plumb it just like you would if you were installing it in your house but outside in the sun.  Give it a new coat of black grill paint and there you go.

We had a set up with a water heater tank at one of the old Boy Scout camps around here.  It worked well, you just had to check for snakes and wasps before you showered.  Then again, I think placement had a lot to do with the wildlife problems in that case.  You just can't put an open shower right next to a snake infested pond.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 07:18:13 AM »
A caution about large quantities of water overhead:

Water is heavy, and a water tank can squash a person like a bug if it isn't adequately supported.

That means a well-engineered water tower, even if it's only eight feet tall. Be prepared to spend some money on structural materials.

A 40-gallon water tank is going to weigh in at about 350 lbs, full, and it's going to be hanging up in the air for a lot of years, so don't skimp on the supports.


Offline Zookeeper

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 10:23:45 AM »
Years ago at my familys camp, my Dad had a long black garden hose criss crossing the roof of the cabin. It got hot . There was enough hot water for everyone to take a short shower.

Offline excaliber

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 10:54:27 AM »
Years ago at my familys camp, my Dad had a long black garden hose criss crossing the roof of the cabin. It got hot . There was enough hot water for everyone to take a short shower.

yeah, this would be to easy to build, it all depends on how elaborate you want to go,

dirt simple is a black hose filled with water, with a nozel on the other end,

or you could put the black hose in a shallow black box with a plexiglass top to aid in heating in the winter.

The first time I was in Iraq, showers were few and short, an emergency shower can be done with only a gallon or 2 of water

turn it on and get wet, turn it off, soap up, then turn on and rinse off.

i'd be sure and put down something to walk on as the ground will be wet around it, we used old pallets in Iraq, it lets the water run through them
and keeps you 4 inches off the ground in case the pallet sinks in the mud over time after several people.

Offline Orion53

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 01:06:10 PM »
Does it have to be that complex?  You said you wanted it in the event of a water supply disruption.  Assuming this is short term and your sewers aren't backing up you should be able to do this in your own home. Take an old 1 gallon milk jug or two, fill it up with water, paint 1 side black and leave it in the sun for a few hours.  Poke a few nail holes into the cap, take the jug(s) into your shower in your house and you've got yourself a hot water shower.  If the disruption is long term, then take the shower outside.

Offline Calista

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Re: Anyone Built a Simple Solar Shower?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 01:11:16 PM »
True -- the simplest answers are often the best and more complex solutions may not even be needed.

I guess I DO want something a bit more elaborate than the WM-style solar showers, permanent enough to be used on a regular basis no matter WHAT the "emergency," if necessary. Already in place, you know? Kind of like the outdoor working privy I had built that is presently masquerading as a storage shed.  ;D

We have a carpenter friend who is intrigued with this outdoor shower idea and is presently working on it, so I'll post what he comes up with.